A dress for forensic entomologists

So, Vogue Patterns emailed me a preview of their summer patterns (as, of course, we antipodeans head into winter). This one caught my eye.

Vogue 1242 pattern

Look, that coral colour looks absolutely smashing on everyone, doesn’t it? So youthful. But what really got me excited was the OPEN WOUND INFESTED BY MAGGOTS MOTIF.

Reality check

Lots of us seamsters have a stash. Lots of us have a stash so big that we must hide it for fear of being recruited for Hoarders. Surely, keeping it orderly prevents such dire interventions by friends/families/TV crews. But how to sort it?

I used to sort by colour.

Then, by fabric type.

Last night I spent a good few hours pulling it all down off the shelves and sorting by a few different systems. First I put all the dress-length pieces together. Then all the other garment-sized and garment-appropriate pieces. Next, cords and velvets in one pile, heavy cottons in another, and old sheeting in two piles. The result:

Here’s the reality check. That top left quarter of the picture – all four piles – comprises dress-length pieces. I counted, not including linings, nearly 70 pieces of fabric.

Let’s think about this a moment. 70 dresses. Is that not a lifetime’s supply? When would I have the time to wear them all, let alone make them?

I culled quite a bit (giveaway, anyone?) but probably not enough. The whole exercise was quite a pointed demonstration that I do not need to buy any more fabric.

How do you sort your fabric? And how do you know when you’ve got enough?

Under suffrage

I love a rapid-fire stash turnaround. It has oft been observed that the longer something stews in the stash, the smaller the chance it will ever get used. Thus, cutting into something within a week of it coming home with me is a wise move. This time it was one of the Savers scores from last post – the purple abstract screenprint which I bought thinking, will I have time to whip up a purple dress to wear on International Women’s Day?

The answer? YES.

The top is Butterick 5032, a vintage reissue, while the skirt was improvised as I went. It’s very easy to chuck in deep inverted pleats around side seams and darts. Just sayin’. I wore it with a green cardie and white beads to complete the IWD suffrage tribute.

Happy International Women’s Day. Shout the praises of your female heroes, role models and inspirations.

Oops. I did it again

Savers used to be The Place to score random awesome bits of fabric. Then, everyone else cottoned (ha) on to the fact AND Savers started pricing them as if they were lengths of rare cloth hand-woven from the gossamer locks of virgin fairies.

But. The op shop gods were smiling on me last night.

vintage fabrics

Left to right:

  • Loose-woven wool, plenty for a toasty winter skirt
  • Lovely drapey rayon, plenty for a blouse (mebbe the corker from the last post?)
  • Lurid rayon, narrow width but good length. Loud dress methinks.
  • Metres and metres of very fine cotton shirting
  • Cotton twill with very odd abstract screen-print
  • Vintage cotton with Japanese-style chestnut leaves
  • Polyester – I know, I know, but such a cool stylised hydrangea print

And price? $3 and $4 each. Thank you, op shop gods. Don’t think I’m not grateful.

Tale of two blouses

So I made a quick ‘n’ dirty version of the Joan blouse from the previous post, hoping it would be wearable, but I’d be able to tweak it before cutting into silk. The fabric is an electric blue cotton voile.

I was sooooo excited about this one. But I’m completely underwhelmed. Neither I or Headless Esme are as bodacious as Joan, which might be a contributing factor. The blue, too, looks a bit hospital scrubs or trainee ninja or something. I think it would be better in a print or less gaudy shade. Finally, the facings are insane – you’re instructed to face the peplum. It would be sooooo much easier and neater to just line it.

In contrast, I’ve had this Advance pattern for years. I bought it for the dress (still unmade) and turned my nose up at the jacket and blouse. But I’ve been seeing so many nice 1940s style blouses online that suddenly the blouse looked less unappealing. And, a good match for my newly-made high waisted BRIGHT RED wide-leg trousers. So I whipped one up quickly and a wee bit shoddily from a rayon remnant I’ve had for about as long as the pattern. And, surprise surprise, me likey! It’s got a bit of a 30s vibe to it.

This one I’m definitely re-making. I have a vintage silk twill that will be perfect. I did widen the neck and shorten the sleeves a little, and will do so again.